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China Stock Market May Spin Its Wheels On Thursday

The China stock market on Wednesday snapped the three-day winning streak in which it had gathered more than 60 points or 2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 2,980-point plateau and it's expected to remain in that neighborhood again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly rudderless amid a lack of catalysts as investors look for concrete details in a possible trade agreement between the United States and China. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and flat and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The SCI finished modestly lower on Wednesday as losses from the property stocks and energy producers were mitigated by support from the financial sector.

For the day, the index fell 12.97 points or 0.43 percent to finish at 2,978.60 after trading between 2,969.72 and 2,995.56. The Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 14.38 points or 0.87 percent to end at 1,641.23.

Among the actives, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China advanced 1.01 percent, while Bank of China collected 0.54 percent, China Construction Bank jumped 1.49 percent, China Merchants Bank climbed 1.30 percent, China Life Insurance rose 0.14 percent, Ping An Insurance eased 0.07 percent, PetroChina shed 0.85 percent, China Shenhua Energy sank 0.66 percent, Gemdale retreated 1.54 percent, Poly Developments plunged 2.00 percent, China Vanke dropped 0.86 percent, CITIC Securities fell 0.84 percent and China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec) and China Minsheng Bank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks showed a lack of direction on Wednesday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending mixed.

The Dow eased 0.07 points to end at 27,492.56, while the NASDAQ fell 24.05 points or 0.29 percent to 8,410.63 and the S&P rose 2.16 points or 0.07 percent to 3,076.78.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders were reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets after the recent run to record highs.

Optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal contributed to the strength on Wall Street, but traders now seem to be looking for more concrete developments - limiting the upside.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department said labor productivity in the U.S. unexpectedly edged lower in the third quarter.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, snapping a three-day winning streak, after data showed a larger than expected increase in crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down $0.88 or 1.5 percent at $56.35 a barrel.

Closer to home, China will see October numbers for imports, exports and trade balance later today. Imports are expected to fall 7.6 percent on year after dropping 8.5 percent in September. Exports are called lower by an annual 3.8 percent after slipping 3.2 percent in the previous month. The trade balance is forecast to show a surplus of $40.55 billion, up from $39.65 billion a month earlier.

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